Could Facebook’s New Dating App Be a Game-Changer?

Beyond poking.

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There are already a seemingly infinite amount of ways to find love these days.  For starters, you have the household-name apps, like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble. Then, the veterans of the online dating world like Match.com and eHarmony. There are the niche groups that hope to get granular about shared interests and values, including JDate or FarmersOnly. Coming up to bat — and potentially blowing everyone out of the running — is Facebook’s take on a dating ‘app.’

The discussion around FB’s venture into matchmaking have been breezing headlines for a while now, but at their annual developers conference last week, more info has started to circulate. These plans, while slow and flexible, are taking a different perspective on what actually produces relationships in the digital age. Here’s what we know so far about this potentially game-changing release from the one-and-only Facebook:

The ‘Secret Crush’ feature is expanding.

Perhaps it’s your high school girlfriend you broke up with a decade ago — but still think about. Or the friend-of-a-friend who was never single when you were. Maybe even a random gal you met backpacking, and find yourself liking all of her posts. Everyone has crushes, and if you’re lucky, you’re friends with them on FB. In a nutshell, this is the concept of the ‘Secret Crush’ feature on FB. Single people can choose nine friends they’re digging, and if one of the friends likes them back, they’ll be matched together. While this feature has been live in Colombia, Thailand, Canada, Argentina and Mexico for a year, FB is rolling it out to 14 new countries. These include many spots in South America, like Chile and Bolivia, as well as areas in Asia, including Singapore and Vietnam.

The app won’t use data — but interests.

On many of the mainstream dating apps, swiping left and right is what warrants love connections. Based on who you say ‘yes’ to and who you pass, apps accumulate data on your habits and try to provide better suitors. Though this works for Tinder and Bumble, surprisingly, Facebook isn’t taking the numbers-driven approach. Instead they’re banking on the concept of ‘common’ and ‘shared.’ This includes your passions and hobbies, as well as events you attend or groups you’re part of. Mutual friends? That’ll play a factor, too.

Messaging will be a little like Hinge.

Over the past few years, Hinge has double-downed on their commitment to producing relationships — not hook-ups. It’s widely considered the app to download that doesn’t go as far as Match, but isn’t as grimy as Tinder. Facebook is follow these footsteps, and requires singles to comment on a photo or a part of their profile to strike up a conversation. The idea here is you are forced to say more than ‘Hey, what’s up’ — and actually engage with a part of their personality.

It’s not coming to the United States any time soon.

…or at least, that’s what experts predict. Since it’s assumed FB is still testing many of their matchmaking skills across the globe, America will likely be one of the last to be introduced to the app. The same goes with Europe. There is no official comment on why FB is resisting the urge to shell out their new love-making feature with Americans, but experts predict they’re still recovering from privacy concerns. That, and the fact that folks in the United States and Europe have plenty of online dating options. FB wants to be ready to ‘wow’ users before they test a major market.

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